Pebble has pledged $1 million towards development of modular accessories for its latest Time and Time Steel smartwatches.
A few weeks ago, Pebble launched a Kickstarter campaign for its Pebble Time smartwatch. To date, the record-shattering gadget has already garnered nearly $20 million and has been at the center of all the wearable buzz as of late. Aside from the unveiling of its premium Steel counterpart during Mobile World Congress, another big piece of news has proven to be the announcement of modular smartstraps. This open hardware component of Pebble Time will enable Makers, developers and designers alike to create their own add-ons for the device. Better yet, Pebble is now betting big on the initiative by pledging $1 million to fund its development and commercialization.
“If you have an idea and want to be part of the smartstrap revolution, this is your chance! Get a team together, build a prototype and put your project up on a crowdfunding platform. Our team will work to help bring your idea to life,” Pebble writes.
Smartstraps open the door to a wide-range of possibilities, including standalone cellular capabilities, NFC, GPS and even heart rate monitors. Pebble says these bands will be easily interchangeable, and can be swapped out in as little as five to 10 seconds.
In the days following its announcement, the Pebble crew received countless ideas, requests, and suggestions for smartstraps. Two of their earliest favorites came direct from notable names in the Maker community: Spark.io and SeeedStudio.
Seeed Studio has revealed that they will be producing a Pebble Time connector for their Arduino-compatible Xadow boards (ATmega32U4) later this year. Meanwhile, a recent Spark.io prototype demonstrated how an Electron could be used to untether a Pebble and connect directly to the cellular network.
“We are big fans of Seeed and their Xadow modules. They offer 20+ strap-sized modules, which include NFC readers, OLED displays, barometers and GPS modules, and we hear a Heart Rate Sensor is coming soon! The upcoming Xadow adapter for Pebble Time will make prototyping new smartstraps very simple and affordable.”
Keeping in line with its crowdfunding tradition, Pebble is encouraging Makers to get together, devise prototypes and put their projects up on Kickstarter. The team adds, “We will monitor Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms for smartstrap related projects that support Pebble devices, and we’ll back the best of them. We truly understand the value of backing projects in their early state, having started that way ourselves.”
Want to learn more? Head over to its official page now.